This was posted on a cycling forum at work and raised an ironic smile... It seems that while the quality of writing has diminished, attitudes haven't changed much in 120 years!
10 June 1899
The ubiquitous bicycle
Sir - The time was when after your day's work was done you might hie you countrywards with the certainty that, once the city with its ear-splitting noises was left behind, you would be left in blissful solitude with your thoughts, excepting the occasional obtrusion of a pedestrian, who, like yourself perchance, had come into the country that his mind might be refreshed and his nerves soothed after the mental and nervous tension of the day's work in the city. Yes, sir, you might have looked for such an Elysium once upon a time, but now, alas, you would search almost in vain for it. Go whichever road you may, unless, indeed, you go up a mountain, you are sure to be startled out of your reverie by a sudden whish, as some fiend goes tearing past you on a bicycle.
The bicycle is nothing but a desecration of nature. What artist dare depict three or four hideous contrivances of steel and rubber on a beautiful pastoral landscape? None, I trow. The artistic portion of humanity would cry out as with one voice for the instant annihilation of a being who dare shatter its most cherished conceptions of ideality by such a wanton act of vandalism. Yet the pedestrian who is afflicted with a mind that soars above mere materialism is compelled in silent anguish to behold the fair face of Nature defaced by this anti-artistic contrivance.
If the mania for cycling continues to develop at the rate it has done during the last five years, it requires no great prophetic ability to prognosticate the complete submergence of the pedestrian altogether. Yes, I fear that the poor pedestrian will soon become effete. But why should such things be? Why not make cycling restricted? I sincerely hope that pedestrians will assert themselves ere they are completely overridden by the most diabolical of all modern inventions, the bicycle. – I am, &c, Bicycle Tired.
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